Saturday, 20 June 2015

A rural route to Rouen on a Road-Kill Ride

After yesterday’s 70 kms of cycling, the hours spent on the trains and waiting for them, the fabulous dinner and the glasses of wine accompanying all of the above, I have no problem falling asleep at 10 pm.

I wake up at 5:30 am with an undefined feeling that there is something I HAVE to do! Then it hits me; it is the whole reason why I came to this part of the world. The new Google Maps has photographs on the bottom edge that are selected in dependence on the particular section of the world is displayed on the map.  When planning my train ride West against the wind, I was slowly moving the map selection westward and carefully scanning the images at the bottom to make sure I wouldn't miss anything that I would regret later.  And there it was: Sassetot del Mauconduit was the town nearest to the things I NEEDED to see.
I charged the new camera last night and here is its opportunity to see first light just before sunrise ;-)
Horse waking up

Before sunrise
So this morning at 6 am I already completed a 10 minute bike ride down the hill to Les Dalles (~The Slabs).  And once I see the scenery live, I know that I have made the right decision coming here ;-)

Looking East:The sun is just about to rise around the corner

It's hitting the most sticky-outy slab

The projections on the cliff top join the illuminated

Another Scroller

Prepare to scroll!

On my way up the hill I work up the courage to stop by what I have seen along my way down earlier. A dead cat, most likely hit by a car.

The sight of the cat causes anger to well up. Not only do cars create noise, pollute the environment, cause oil wars, and make aggressive bitches out of normal human beings, they also KILL directly.  And today will be a perfect day to see that.

Definitely not killing any cats today

Find the bicycle in the picture
Breakfast at 8 am is yet another eye-opener.  3 pieces of different cheeses, none of which has an overpowering taste, but all three are different and actually HAVE a taste ;-) Add to that home-made preserves, freshly whipped-up butter (it doesn't have much in common with those whitish cold blocks sold in your local supermarket!),  and fabulous bread and I'm in heaven again. 

I check out at 10:30 am and head south. My final destination today is Rouen, but I haven’t yet decided on the particular route or even on all modes of transport.

I've never seen a real badger before; and I wish my first sighting would've been a live one!

What makes some individual animals interested in the smoker on the bike but not others?

I used to love these as a kid!

Romain is here to demonstrate that cars don't only kill wild and domesticated animals but also people.

Valliquerville church
At 12:30 it is time for an omelette du fruits de mere, a battery recharge, and a decision how to proceed.
With the sky clearing up and the battery looking fullish again I decide not to take the train from Yvetot, but to cycle all the way to Rouen through through the Seine valley.

Finally Fields of Poppies (a farmer who doesn't believe in herbicides)

Signs of things to come ...

I finally get to the bridge for which I have seen signs for quite a while now. It goes to the other side of the Seine, which is not along my route, but I can’t resist, riding to its mid-span.  
Only the left land of each direction is for cars while the other one is exclusively for bicycles and farm tractors.  Once I've reached mid-span and used the very light traffic to cross across the median to the other direction, I actually have to make room for a tractor.

Time to cross the median !

Crossed the middle and on the way back down

People living under bridges ;-)
I stop at a Lidl store, which is a mistake. The guy in front of me with the bulging shopping cart has seen me with my two items repeatedly, but don’t think that he ever has the  thought of waving me ahead of him.  So there, the mythical country of the brain-dead extends everywhere.

Talking about braindeath.  I am reminded of those bloody speed bumps on a bike route in Holland last year where my saddle bag flew off the bike and was drenched in the juice of the glass jar of cherries I was carrying.  The same saddle bag flies off again.  And YES, it is the one with the bottle of Chablis in it. BUT the bottle miraculously survives !!
Speed bumps or cable covers. No matter what they are, they're EVIL
 In the road-kill department, a tourist bus narrowly misses one of those tiny French cars that cuts in front of it.  Trust me, that was CLOSE!  A second less reaction time for either of the drivers and I would've had more road-kill pictures than I could possibly pack into this post.

Solid Rock?
I ride along the Seine Valley for a while and both the size of the river and the nature of the towns very much remind me of the river Rhine south of Cologne. 

I stop at a small wine store (with a bar and a few chairs for tasting) for a drink and a battery recharge.

Road-kill Chablis ;-(
Blame it on my exhaustion level after ~70 kms on the bike or on the extra alcohol in my system, but when slowly riding by a flower box, I fail to take the dimension of my saddle bags into account. I hit the flower box.  Not hard at all but the sound and the dripping tell me that the Chablis didn't survive this second attempt on its life ;-(
Not enough room between the pole and the flower box!

I'm not sure of the name of this final car victim in this post but he has the prettiest memorial

After climbing a ferocious hill (good thing I charged that battery, even if it cost me that bottle of Chablis), I am greeted by this view:
Rouen at my feet

They have very very nice elevators that are supposed to get you from the banks of the Seine up to the level of the bridges that also bridge the rail line separating the banks from the city.  Unfortunately the elevator doesn't work (it still works as a mirror).  Good thing I'm not in a wheelchair because the only other way is up several flights of stairs.

The view from the hotel window

Oh BTW. Yesterday was the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. 
NOT Waterloo. Different  continent, same Bonaparte

While the Germans are probably envious of never having had such a great conqueror, the Belgians are happy that the time to dig all those graves is already 200 years past (Didn't I say that it’s always the Belgians that have to bear the brunt; Waterloo is in Belgium), the French apparently miss the grandeur of those days so badly that 6000 people dressed in contemporary uniforms re-enacted the battle of Waterloo yesterday.  I'm not sure what the point is unless you like to dress up in frilly garments or like pointing rifles at people.  But apparently there are quite a few of these people in the homicidal-maniac closet.

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